Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz has told TheIowaRepublican.com that he will not be a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2014. The announcement concludes a nearly three-month long decision making process. Schultz joins a number of high-profile elected Republicans who have taken a pass on running for the U.S. Senate seat that is being vacated by Sen. Tom Harkin at the conclusion of his fifth term.
Schultz made his decision over the Memorial Day holiday and, on Tuesday afternoon, told TheIowaRepublican.com that he would focus on winning a second term as Iowa’s Secretary of State.
Over the past few weeks I have been truly humbled by the encouragement I have received from Iowans to run for the U.S. Senate.
After many conversations with my family and friends about the U.S. Senate race, I keep coming back to the fact that I love serving Iowans as their Secretary of State.
In my first two years as Secretary of State we have worked to increase voter participation with our “Honor a Veteran” program and our partnership with Rock the Vote to encourage young people to vote through Rock Iowa. We have made it easier to start a business in Iowa by streamlining the filing process, and we used technology to make voting easier by creating apps that allow voters to find their polling place and track their absentee ballots right from their cell phones. We have also created an electronic poll book, “Express Voter”, to make voting easier on Election Day.
While I am proud of our achievements, there is more to accomplish. I will continue working to improve the business climate in Iowa and fighting for integrity in our elections. This is why I am going to run for re-election as Iowa’s Secretary of State.
The other prominent Republicans who have taken a pass at the 2014 U.S. Senate campaign, including Tom Latham, Steve King, Bill Northey, and Kim Reynolds, are all in their fifties and sixties, which means that they may not get another opportunity to run for an open U.S. Senate in the future. Schultz isn’t even 34 years old yet, which means there will be ample opportunities in the future to seek higher office.
Schultz became a popular figure among Republican activists during his 2010 primary and general election by making a strong case for Iowa to pass a law that requires voters to show a photo I.D. in order to vote. His commonsense proposal and ability to connect with voters carried him to victory in 2010 against an incumbent Democrat. Since taking office, Iowa Democrats have repeatedly targeted him, but those attacks have only endeared him more to conservative activists in the state.
Schultz’s strong connection to the GOP base would have made him a favorite to win the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate, but seeking the seat so early in his career would have been risky. Holding the Secretary of State’s office is also a priority for Republicans. Before Schultz was elected in 2010, Republicans only held the office for four of the last 24 years.
The last Republican to hold the position of Secretary of State was Paul Pate, who chose to run for governor when Terry Branstad decided not to seek re-election. Like Schultz, Pate was a young and rising figure in Republican politics when he chose to seek higher office instead of running for re-election. Schultz gives Republicans the best chance to hold on to the Secretary of State’s office, and, if successful, he will be better positioned to seek higher office in the future.
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